The LA County Jail Oral History Project aims to document the conditions, culture and recent history of the LA County jail system through the oral histories of former and current inmates. The project wishes to create an opportunity to grant an authoritative voice to the literally disenfranchised minority of the former and current local inmate population in Los Angeles County. Five oral histories have been gathered from those who were incarcerated in one of the LA County jails from the 1980’s to present day. The project’s long-term goal is to collect 80 to 100 oral histories to form a representative sample of former and current inmates, taking into account factors such as race, gender, and sexual orientation.
The underlying philosophical goals of the project are to provide an opportunity for inmates and former inmates to create authoritative narratives of their experiences in the LA County jail system in a manner that supports inmates regaining and reimagining ownership of their life stories surrounding incarceration, and to foster dialogue and understanding with the inmate community and the general public.